NBA Game Day Predictions
By Angelo Montilla
With a playoff spot within reach, the Chicago Bulls will try to snap a dry spell against the Atlanta Hawks when the two Eastern Conference foes clash at the United Center on Saturday.
Here are a few NBA betting options to consider, with odds courtesy of BetOnline.
Chicago Bulls (-190) vs. Atlanta Hawks (+165)
A pair of teams battling for an Eastern Conference playoff spot will do battle on Saturday when the surging Chicago Bulls host the Atlanta Hawks at the United Center.
The Bulls, who have won back-to-back games and sit just a half game behind the Indiana Pacers for the last playoff spot, enter action on Saturday as -190 favorites. Chicago is 22-16 on home court this season, which strengthens their chances against Atlanta. The Hawks, who’ve also won two straight games, head to the Windy City as +165 underdogs.
Despite their recent success, both the Bulls and Hawks have struggled to generate scoring this season, as the clubs are averaging just over 102 points per game, ranking among the bottom ten in the league.
Head-to-head, the Hawks have owned the Bulls over the last 10 meetings, winning nine of those matches during that stretch. Their last meeting in January, the Hawks walked away with a 119-114 win at the United Center.
The total points projection for Saturday’s contest has been set at 202.5 — a mark these two clubs will still surpass despite their struggles to create offense this season.
Pick: Chicago Bulls (-190) and the Over (202.5)
Portland Trail Blazers (-700) vs. (+535)
Two clubs heading in opposite directions this season will face off as the Portland Trail Blazers host the Phoenix Suns at the Moda Center.
The Blazers — winners of five straight games and comfortably sitting 2 games ahead of Denver for the last playoff spot in the West — enter action on Saturday as -700 favorites on home court, where the club has posted a 21-15 record this season. The Suns, who are plummeting after 10 straight losses, head to Portland as +535 underdogs.
Phoenix defenders will have their hands full with Blazers star Damian Lillard, who ranks seventh in NBA scoring with 26.7 points per game. The Suns allow a league-worst 112.9 points per game, which will open up the floor for Lillard.
The head-to-head history over the last 10 games has been closer than expected, with Portland winning six of those matches during that span. In their last meeting in March, the Blazers defeated the Suns 110-101 in Phoenix.
Don’t expect a high-scoring affair on Saturday night, which is why you should take the under on the projected total of 222.
Pick: Portland Trail Blazers (-700) and the Under (222)
Minnesota Timberwolves (-900) vs. Sacramento Kings (+675)
There’s not much to play for aside from pride for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Sacramento Kings — two clubs that will miss the post-season. The Timberwolves will host the Kings at the Target Center.
Minnesota — winners of two straight — enters action on Saturday as convincing -900 favorites on home court, where the club has posted a respectable 19-19 record this season. The Kings, who officially eliminated from playoff contention, have won just four of their last 10 and head to Minnesota as +675 underdogs.
The Timberwolves have a point differential rating of 0.7, as the club is averaging 105.2 while allowing 105.9 per game.
Over the last 10 meetings between these two clubs, the Timberwolves have won seven times during that stretch, including a 102-88 victory in their last game.
The total points projection for Saturday’s contest has been set at 202, but don’t expect a high-scoring match when these two clubs clash. The Timberwolves will come out on top in a tight-scoring game.
Pick: Minnesota Timberwolves (-900) and the Under (202)